Hockey might be the national game of India but it is cricket that scores all runs when it comes to popularity. And if IPL (Indian Premier League) the game alone wasn’t enough feast to this cricket crazy nation, Café Premium League (CPM) is running successfully in Café Coffee Day (CCD) outlets ! CCD is the Starbucks of India. I was in CCD, Nehru Place yesterday. Here’s what I had : Delhi Coffee Devils, a CCD tribute to Delhi Daredevils an IPL team from the city. The Innings Break stands tall next to it. In case you did not know India recently hosted The Hockey World Cup in Delhi. But the game is no ‘culture’ as cricket is in this nation. A few celebs appearing on Hero Honda’s advertisement kept asking the Indian audience to ‘Phir Dil Do Hockey Ko’ (Give your heart to hockey once again). But that doesn’t compare to the mammoth IPL commerce. You might not be a cricket follower (like me) but the game is on your face 24/7 and you just can’t escape that in India. When Sachin Tendulkar scored a double century in a one-day version on the game against the South Africans recently every newspaper had him on their front page asking questions like “Is he God?” The talk shows, magazines, web portals all echoed the same sentiment for quite sometime. Right now Indian cricket is undisputedly at its best. The Indian cricket team tops the International Cricket Council’s ODI (One Day International) Rankings.
And the Indian business community knows how to strike sixes. Cricket has been highly and successfully commercialized in India. Thanks to the satellite television penetration in the Indian society that has taken the game to the masses like never before. IPL is being played for the prime-time TV (The matches begin at 8 pm).
The recent controversies surrounding the non-selection of Pakistani players in the IPL auction and Shahrukh Khan, a Bollywood start who co-owns the IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders, snapping his ties with the undergarment brand Lux Cozy as its owner faces trail for murder have only made the game spicier.